Whether you’re in your first week of fantasy football playoffs, or you’ve already sweated through a week or two, your starting lineup is critical this week.
Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Week 15, and there is only a week or two left for you to be your league’s fantasy football champion. Every move you make from here on out will make or break your season.
By now you have a pretty good fantasy football lineup; you’re in the playoffs for a reason! There are no bye week teams, so the options are endless.
But, now comes the debate on which players to start and which players to bench. Players have been so inconsistent this season, that choosing the wrong player will end it all.
I have identified the top five players to start this week, based on weekly matchups and fantasy football production and value. If you’re debating between players, and aren’t sure which player deserves the start, check out this week’s top starters and adjust your lineup accordingly!
Next: 5. This running back should get the start
5. Bilal Powell, RB – New York Jets
Bilal Powell isn’t the running back fantasy football owners rely on every week. However, if you own Matt Forte and handcuffed Powell, this is the week you’re in luck.
Last week, when Forte left the first quarter with a knee injury, Powell had his best game of the season. He rushed 29 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a little under 35 yards after completing 5-of-5 targets. He earned almost 50 points in some leagues.
Although Forte hasn’t been ruled out of the Saturday matchup, it has been speculated Powell is preparing for the start. If Forte misses this week’s matchup expect Powell to have another great week.
This week the New York Jets take on the Miami Dolphins who, haven’t been successful at blocking the run. In their last six matchups, the Dolphins gave the position 100 yards or a touchdown. Not to mention, in Week 9, Forte had a little under 100 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. Expect Powell to have a great fantasy football week!
Next: 4. This tight end was a huge upset last week
Dec 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple (24) breaks up a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
4. Ladarius Green, TE – Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week everyone expected Ladarius Green to have a productive fantasy football outing. Unfortunately, he let everyone down, myself included; I could argue he was one of the biggest busts of Week 14.
He completed only 2-of-6 targets for just 25 yards. He earned about three fantasy points. But this week will be Green’s comeback week. The Pittsburgh Steelers come face to face with Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have surrendered the third-most fantasy football points per game to opposing tight ends.
As long as Ben Roethlisberger can connect with Green in the end zone, expect him to have a good fantasy outing. He enters this week a TE1 option.
Next: 3. Even the second running back gets a start
Dec 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) scores on a six-yard run past Los Angeles Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) and outside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) in the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
3. Tevin Coleman, RB – Atlanta Falcons
It’s not often I suggest starting players that fall behind in snaps. Especially Tevin Coleman who has had a rocky season. He plays second to Devonta Freeman who is a weekly fantasy football starter. That translates to owners being hesitant to start Coleman.
He’s had a few good matchups that offered decent fantasy points even playing behind Freeman. But, it doesn’t come often. However, when it does, you must take advantage of it, and this week’s San Francisco 49ers matchup is one of those games. The 49ers have given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Coleman is also coming off a great Week 14 performance. He had eight carries for a little over 35 yards and a touchdown, earning about 16 points.
Expect Week 15 to be the sixth time Freeman and Coleman near 100 yards or a touchdown in the same game. Coleman is a strong RB2 candidate this week.
Next: 2. The odds are in favor of this receiver
Dec 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) runs after a catch while defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Valentino Blake (47) in the second half at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
2. Emmanuel Sanders, WR – Denver Broncos
Emmanuel Sanders has had a decent fantasy football run but, still left owners questioning his value several weeks. He has now had six double-digit fantasy outings; some weeks even topped 30 points.
But with Trevor Siemian returning, Sanders has increased his production and in two of his last three games had 100 or more yards and a touchdown. Also, this week the Denver Broncos take on the New England Patriots.
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The last five times Sanders played the Patriots, he had either a touchdown or close to 100 yards four times. The Patriots have also surrendered 100 or more receiving yards to six wideouts; those were during away games.
Everything about this matchup points to Sanders. He’s a borderline WR1/2 entering Week 15.
Next: 1. Put your trust in this Redskin
Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
1. Kirk Cousins, QB – Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins has been a reliable fantasy football quarterback this season. He has only had four games that he didn’t score at least 20 points; he still manages double-digits in those games.
Cousins has proven himself to be a QB1 this season. He has had six, 30 plus point fantasy outings. And this week’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers will only benefit owners.
In their past four games, the Panthers have offered three opposing quarterbacks multiple touchdowns. Two of those games included 300 or more passing yards.
Cousins is the way to go this week. His matchup offers better fantasy value than several weekly starting quarterbacks. Look for Cousins to save your lineup in Week 15!